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Reed Smith confirms merger talks with Philadelphia outfit Pepper Hamilton

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Rumours circulate that Clyde & Co is eyeing up potential suitors in Miami

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Global law firm Reed Smith has confirmed that it is in talks with US outfit Pepper Hamilton over a possible merger.

Reed Smith — founded in Pittsburgh in 1877 but with deep City routes since its acquisition of Warner Cranston in 2001 — revealed that the discussions taking place were still at a preliminary stage. The shipping and media specialist, which swallowed up corporate outfit Richards Butler in 2007, said the merger — if agreed — would be advantageous for both parties.

Reed Smith, which offers around 24 training contracts annually, has more than 1,800 lawyers across 24 offices and is easily the bigger of the two firms. Pepper Hamilton — which is headquartered in Philadelphia — has 500 lawyers across 13 offices. The multi-practice outfit is ranked amongst the 100 largest firms in the US by revenue.

Confirming the rumours a spokesperson for Reed Smith said:

Reed Smith has been clear about its interest in strengthening its industry focus and adding to strategic practice areas. In executing this strategy we speak regularly with law firms around the world regarding our respective objectives. As part of that process, we have had preliminary discussions with Pepper Hamilton about a possible combination. Based on these preliminary discussions, we see many potential benefits to joining forces.

Elsewhere, it was confirmed that City outfit Clyde & Co is in the process of eyeing up potential US suitors.

According to The Lawyer (registration required), the shipping and insurance stalwart is “talking to a number of firms in Miami” over a possible merger or acquisition.

Clyde & Co, offering around 50 training contracts annually, has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2011 Clyde’s merged with Toronto-based law firm Nicholl Paskell-Mede and City outfit Barlow Lyde & Gilbert. Continuing to expand, the City firm joined forces with leading Scottish law firm Simpson & Marwick last year.

A spokesperson for the firm told the website:

That we intend to grow our office network in the US is no secret. Our ambition is to have a presence in all the key insurance centres in the US and the Americas and we continuously study the market for opportunities. We only comment as and when discussions are positively concluded.

This latest transatlantic deal — which could be confirmed as early as June this year — would bolster the firm’s position across the pond. Now who fancies a training contract in Miami?

1 Comment

US NQ

Pepper Hamilton is as obscure as US BigLaw gets – merging with Reed Smith would be a huge boost for an otherwise middling firm.

Not really sure what does RS see in them however, besides the Mid-Atlantic origins (Philly & Pittsburgh) and an incentive to consolidate on the respective US office networks, there’s not much the two firms share, not to mention the difference in PEP.

I guess stranger things have happened though, like when BLP thought it could pull off the merger with GT…

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